Population: 8.3 million (2019 estimate)
Religion: Protestant (51.3%)
Languages: German, French, Italian, Romansh
Order of Visit: Sixteenth
First Visit: 31 May 2006
Last Visit: 7 June 2006
Duration: 8 Days
Must Do: Lake Lucerne, Eat delicious Swiss Chocolate, admire stunning Lauterbrunnen Waterfalls, Enjoy the high altitude train to Jungfrajoch (Top of Europe) and stand in awe before the snow capped mountains.
Cities: Lucerne, Lauterbrunnen, Bern
Switzerland Journal Entries
History and Geography
The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from military successes against Austria and Burgundy. The Federal Charter of 1291 is considered the founding document of Switzerland which is celebrated on Swiss National Day. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.
Since 16th century Switzerland has maintained a strong policy of armed neutrality; it has not fought an international war since the 1815 Congress of Vienna European powers agreed to permanently recognise Swiss neutrality and has allowed Switzerland to be active in peace-building processes around the world.
There are four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh but the majority of the population are German-speaking. Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product with the major industry being their banking institutions.
Switzerland was not invaded during either of the world wars. During World War I, Switzerland was home to Vladimir Lenin. During World War II, detailed invasion plans were drawn up by the Germans but Switzerland was never attacked. Switzerland was able to remain independent through a combination of military deterrence, concessions to Germany, and good fortune as larger events during the war delayed an invasion. During the World War II, the Swiss Air Force engaged aircraft of both sides.
Switzerland is part of the European Schengen treaty that allows easy travel throughout the European Union however Switzerland is not a member of the EU. Women were only given the right to vote at Federal level in 1971.
What I experienced
I visited Switzerland once for 8 days as a backpacker during my epic 2006 world trip. Switzerland is an incredibly beautiful and clean country with friendly local who all appeared to speak English as a second or third language, or at least the locals I spoke to. It is extremely expensive place to visit but luckily the beautiful outdoor area are free for everyone to enjoy.
The mountain alps were truly amazing just bring cold weather gear. I picked up some Swiss Army knifes and checked out some magnificent clocks and watches while visiting.
Switzerland is well worth a visit but maybe better to go when you can afford to do more.